Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mothers' Day

Happy Mothers' Day to all.

We had a delightful one, and so many tweets came out of our little girls' mouths as they enjoyed the day, my honored cara spoza begged them to slow down because she couldn't compose then send these pithy epigrams as the girls continued to delight and to amaze us with the innocence of their child-like observations.

We went to a performance of the President's Own of a whodunit: "A composer has stolen Beethoven's Fifth Symphony!"

Ho, hum and yawn, right?

Or so I thought.

How it actually turned out was that their selections were an appropriate synopsis of the spectrum of Classical music (from Baroque to Contemporary), and they had special guest stars, including Old Man B himself (very well played) and ...

And the composer who stole the Fifth Symphony motif, for David Rakowski composed a piece that had its World Premier at the very performance we attended. And he was there, participating in the program, and then chatting, so happily, afterward, with the parents and children who attended.

That was very nice, and what else was very nice was that the conductor and musicians, who were so proper and imposing in their bright red uniforms, were in actuality so kind and sharing with the children, signing programs and letting the children grab their instruments to pluck at the strings.

I thoroughly enjoyed that afternoon, but I think the children enjoyed it more, for Elena kept working on piecing together who the culprit was, and Isabel's face was rapt, asking her mother after each piece was performed "Was that the one?"

Yes, the children and I enjoyed the concert, and I could see that Mommy enjoyed it so much more, because it was such a bit hit with us.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of eating and reading (um, yes, actually, that's an accurate statement) as we whizzed off to La Madeleine for "brunch" (at Four PM) and then to Borders to spend their gift cards that they received for their joint First Holy Communion.

At the end of the day, we came home, pleased and exhausted, a full day out and about town, together, as a family on Mothers' Day.

I then called my own momma down in Louisiana, who herself sounded tired, but pleased that I called, and then my little sister Beki to wish her a Happy Mothers' Day.

This Mothers' Day was the best that our family has had, and it's all due and thanks to the person in question celebrated. My cara spoza, that every kind, patient, and gracious lady, made this Mothers' Day memorable.

I hope you and your family had a Happy Mothers' Day, too.

Moments in Time

Moment 1: this past week

Stomp. Stomp. Stomp!

Shucks, I think to myself, I fell asleep on the couch!

My cara spoza looks at me with bleary eyes, having just been jolted awake herself, too.

She garbles out something that my addled brain eventually translates into words that says: 'Elena's bleeding.'

I rush to the scene. Mother is helping child in the banyo, child has bloody mouth and lips and is gently holding her nose closed.

Whew! It's just a nose bleed.

I tell my cara spoza I will wash the sheets and clothes right away.

Li'l Iz is asleep on the big bed.

"Isabel," I whisper, rubbing her tiny back gently, "get up, honey, I have to wash the sheets."

Eventually she comes to, too, and the first thing she sees are the black splotches on the sheets.

"What happened?" she asks anxiously.

"Elena got a bloody nose," I answer gently.

Terror enters Li'l Izzy's eyes.

"It's okay," I say quickly. "Elena's okay."

My reassurance works as the terror is replaced by relief. Li'l Iz, fully awake now, runs off, shouting "Mama!"

But the first thing she does it to confirm that her older sister is alive and okay.


Moment 2: one week prior.

Li'l Iz was upset and crying, holding her mother's hand during on of the daily outings.

EM walked up to her. "It's okay, Isabel, would you like to hold my hand?"

Isabel looks to her Até being so kind to her. "Yes," she whispers.

Li'l Iz lets go of her mother's hand and places it in the palm of her older sister's. Off they go, skipping gleefully, with each other.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Another Milestone

Very tired. Very happy. That's how we feel, on this, the day after the girls' First Holy Communion. But we haven't gone back to the school routine yet. We're busy remembering the little and big things from yesterday, and from this past year. It hadn't been a journey just for them. We learned much from teaching the girls, and though they could have learned well in CCD, we were happy to be right in the thick of it at home.

As the pictures show, we celebrated, and how! There was lunch with the godparents and dear friends, who have served as our surrogate parents. Then there was dinner with friends and relatives, who are also members of our parish, and who have witnessed the girls' increased participation at Mass.

It was certainly a milestone for the girls. But for us, it was another step in our faith journey.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yes, we are friends

So, I've joined a forum my wife has joined so I may see or participate in the activities she does. I was even flagged by the forum leader, as the forum seems to be addressing more feminine concerns, perhaps?

So, it appears I'm getting in touch with my feminine side.


But one of Diane's (real) friends asked: "Aren't you and your husband friends?"

You see, you become (virtual) friends on the forum with people that, I guess, you feel consonance with in the various topics addressed in the forum.

So, am I friends with my wife?


I am happy to report that, yes, I am indeed friends with my wife. That, yes, in our 14th year of marriage, "we are still friend." I'll go a step further to add that in our 400th year of marriage, I am looking forward to that same friendship, even a deeper one than what we have now.

Yes, my wife and I are friends.

So, must there be membership then? Must we sign up as 'friends' on a forum to declare our real, deep, abiding friendship?

I guess, for others, this is the case.

So, for me to be smart, I must be in Mensa.

So, for me to be tolerant, I must be in the ACLU (one of the most intolerant and litigious organizations in the world).

So, for me to be free, I must be an American.

So, for me to be enlightened, I must be a Zen Buddhist.

Because life is very much an enrollment and membership thing.

Or is it?

Are my wife and myself, well, are we friends?

Well, how do we behave toward each other? Do we talk? Do we listen? Do we hug? Do we comfort? Do we strive? Do we try? Do we fail? Do we forgive?

Do you know?

Do I need you to know?

No, I don't need you to know.

But do you see something about us that's ... different? Weird, even? Isn't there an affection there, a childish affection that is 'only' seen in newlyweds?

Isn't there a calm, peaceful assurance each has in each other that you 'only' see in couples that have been together past their golden anniversary?

Why is that?

Well, obviously, because I've married a saint in training (just waiting on her death, a couple of miracles, and the universal acclaim of the Church in accord with the Trinity to make her a saint in fact), but I'm also trying, too. I'm trying to listen, and I'm trying to be.

Sometimes that works, sometimes that doesn't.

But I am grateful for one thing, declared or not.

Yes, we are friends.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just a little thing

So, ...

Well, called Mom, and she sounded ... wonderful. From her latest email, she has been super-busy, but I was so glad that she could talk, and I heard the smile in her voice and her laugh, and that was such a relief to hear.

So, we, that is, my cara spoza, myself and my little girls, went to Five Guys for lunch, and had lunch. And, after eating, I noticed just a little thing. Three 'tween or teen girls where enqueued; girlfriends, obviously. A blond, a brunette, and a I-don't-know-what, because the middle, olive-skinned, girl is Muslim, as she was wearing the حجاب (hijab), or head-scarf.

And they were chatting away, as easy as you please. Just friends, you know? Just friends. Not a Muslim and two 'Infidels': just friends. Three American girls, one of them who just happened to be Muslim.

Now, I'm not going to go into the screed of what people should or shouldn't be in their adoration of God (or their beliefs concerning the presence or absence of 'Big Juju'), but I am going to say this.

Seeing that, three friends at ease with each other, where things this last decade has been more strained between the Worlds of Believers (and Nonbelievers)?

Well, do you remember when Christians and Jews couldn't talk? And I'm not talking about the Exodus/Expulsion from Spain in 1492, I'm not even talking about the Pogroms and the Holocaust (השואה), I'm talking here, just decades ago. Driving Miss Daisy, anyone? And now we can, and it's not a big deal ... it is, for we are different, but we can talk and we can listen to and with each other, גוים (goyim) and Jews alike.

Those three girlfriends? Seeing them, smiling and laughing and easy?

They give me hope for the future.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Parting is such sorrowful sorrow

It was hard to leave Mom.

I mean, in the last chemo treatment, Mom mentioned that she was hit hard the day after and then the third day after, but this time, the day after, she seemed hardly affected at all, so I was just pleased as punch, thinking that two days later when I would fly out, things would be peachy keen.

They weren't, not for Mom, that day. The chemo hit her hard on the third day, and she put up a brave front, but she pretty much had to go back to bed, because that's what she did do. She asked if Sissy, her cousin, could take me to the airport instead of Mom going with us, and I countered that I was going to suggest that to her. This eased her worry a bit, but I hurt, leaving her in this state, and I think she hurt, having me leave.

Then the American Airlines debacle consumed the rest of the day.

It wasn't a pleasant travel experience for me, going home, and I gave a blow-by-blow on my tweets (late flight from Lake Charles AP (that had free internet? Wow!), two gate changes and a terminal change at Dallas/Ft Worth AP, at the last minute, and back to the terminal from whence I deplaned? So I spent the whole layover at a sub par terminal only to have to race to the terminal where I started?) but what I didn't cover in my tweets was that I was the lucky one: there were three American Airline gates of long lines of angry customers whose flights had been canceled for one reason or another. Looking at Mommies with strollers trying to get another flight? Ick. But then, on the other side of the counter? Remind me not to apply to be a flight attendant or ticketing/gate attendant. They took all this heat and anger from (justifiably) irate customers, customer after customer, with sympathy and a smile, where it wasn't even their fault. Our airline stewardess, Tricia, a lady of a certain age, had a very sweet smile that I complimented, and she admitted that it had been a very long day, for when I deplaned from that flight, there was a long line of people waiting to get on the plane, again, for we had landed late, again, so we were running to get off the plane as others were rushing to get on.

We say: "Say thanks to our service men and women," and, indeed, we should, but there's whole sectors of service people we take too much for granted, like Rachael, my waitress at TGI Fridays at Dallas AP trying to get the meals out to many, many people gulping down their meals before skyhopping, and I mentioned Tricia and the gate attendants getting all that heat.

But then there's a whole 'nother category that Mom and I talked about at length at McDo's as I ate my single (not double) fish fillet.

School teachers.

I mean, we homeschool, so you would think I have nothing to say on the matter, nor possibly nothing good, and perhaps, reading my following screed, well ...

Well, we get our school supplies from somewhere(s), and several of the 'somewheres' is that Diane has more than three close friends who are public and parochial school teachers, and I, myself, once looked at becoming a parochial school teachers, and I have to say the following.


I mean, do you know how much we pay our school teachers? I do, and it's a simple thing for you to look up and find out. But do you know this? 'Underpaid school teachers' is only one problem of the more than few problems that face educating our children today. But even that: what does it mean? It means, we, the people, pay our teachers so little because that is the value we place on education ... on our children's education ... on our children.

But the problem is endemic.

For not only are our teachers paid a pittance, but then, in the DC area, and I hear, too, in California, there's not enough in the budget to procure essential school supplies for our teachers to teach with (hand outs, posters, chalk/dry erase pens, erasers) or for our children to learn with (pencils, pens, crayons, paper, notebooks, ... books ... books as required by the curriculum). So what do teachers do? In Diane's friends' case, and I hear elsewhere, they take money from their salary, and go buy the supplies themselves.

And so Diane's friends own a lot of school supplies, including text books, which they have bought from their own lack.

And here's the thing, they, these school teachers and principals, are so generous. So, for example, Diane and I get more than a bit of our home schooling materials from teachers and principals that Diane has as friends, including text books, all for free and primarily due to the generosity of spirit that these teachers have (recall, that we, as homeschoolers, can very easily be viewed as 'the enemy' by traditional educators).

But it doesn't stop there. Be a foreigner here. Like from the Philippines. Try imparting your culture and its values to your children here. What happens? It gets drowned out by the message that every interaction here has, playing with playmates, (not) watching the TV, etc, etc, etc. So somebody decided to set of a school to do just that, taught on Sundays (if you are thinking 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' you are right on the money).

Who teaches these classes?


The public/parochial school teachers. On Sunday. After a very full work week doing exactly that.

And who creates these classes, right down to the pedagogy?

Yes, again. The school teachers, spending hours each week to impart their culture in novel and interesting ways.

And who buys the supplies, paper, pencils, handouts, and snacks like juice brix, cookies, and chips, nutribran bars? Every week?

But what do these teachers get in parent-teacher conferences? A hug? A 'good job'? A 'thank you'?

Maybe they should? If you know a school teacher ... and if you have kids, I think you may ... maybe you can do that? Go to school and set up a parent-teacher conference just to say 'thank you'? Where 'parent-teacher conference' is the real deal, or taking them out to lunch/supper, or something?

I do try to say please and thank you to the people who provide me service, and this day of travel yesterday, seeing these people put up with all this pressure, but keeping their cool?

Thank God! and ... thank them for doing jobs I'd really rather not do myself.

So, yes, I made it home, with my baggage, even through a rather difficult and trying travel day, and it's thanks to people who helped me to get where I was going.

And, so now I am home, and I could complain, I guess, how my entire Sunday was just shot with not even playing catch-up, but playing 'unpack'-church-hospital run, but I won't.

Nobody likes a complainer, not even the person complaining.

Besides, I got to give and to receive lovely hugs with my cara spoza and my darling daughers.

... AND I gave Diane back rubs that helped her relax into sleep (sorry, I just had to put that in there)

And I got to spend a little time with Dad and Jan and try to make him coffee and watch him play with the girls.

And I got to visit Mike and Malou and my just born god-son Michael David Wuerthele.

And I got to breathe, and to compose a summary of my day, that is I had the breath in me, and the cognitive and physical capacity to do these things, and the material available that allowed me to, and in that regard, I am so very blessed. And that is the case in many areas in my life: I am so very blessed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Immunization Booster and Pop-tarts at the Hospital

Another good day, my last day, so as we wind it up, a bit of sadness for both me and Mom. We started out the day by going to the hospital for Mom to receive an immunization booster shot (?). By 'starting out' I mean Mom dragging me out of bed ("I'd like to leave in five minutes, here, huh, Doug?") So I persuaded the nice ladies there to give me a strawberry pop-tart for my missing breakfast. Which they were happy to do, and even toast for me, but Wendy didn't quite know toaster controls, so one burnt set later, Mom and I left the hospital with a fresh package of pop-tarts in hand.

But we didn't have pop-tarts right away ('we' being the royal we. Mom eat pop-tarts, no thank you). Because Mom treated me to fish fillet at McDo. It was supposed to be a DOUBLE fish fillet (I'm lovin' it), but at the counter Mom made a joke to the girl ringing up our order, "I'll have a hazelnut coffee, and for my boyfriend ..."

Mom and I got a lot of mileage out of that one, because I rejoined, "Now, gramma, why you call me your boyfriend all the time?" And then, to the girl: "She's not really my gramma, I'm really her boyfriend."

So both of us were giggling so hard with embarrassment at our foolishness that we messed up the order and only got the single fish fillet, not the double ... oh, the horror!

We stayed at McDo and chatted as I worked on my 'fresh catch of the day' (rectangular fish, it's amazing what the bounty of the seas produce these days). Talking about politics and education and the politics of education, and love, and (real) grandchildren (not silly me, who is, after all, not Mom's grandson).

We returned home and then it was Spring cleaning day. I started doing the dishes and started doing the laundry, but then I got too engaged in some online stuff that time passed and Mom took that over. Oops! I did do the vacuuming, which was a big choir for Mom to get done, including cleaning the vacuum pump/filter (icky job, so I was glad to do it for Mom). Then I had a pop-tart.

And shared some of my writing thoughts with Mom. See, I don't eat pop-tarts, but a certain (fictional) teenage girl, named Bella Swan, does, and I write about her in my stories, so I shared with Mom some of the thoughts eating (one, single) strawberry pop-tart brought to mind in me, and how those thoughts affect some of my readers. Mom was kind and listened. I then finished off the salmon salad Mom had made a couple of days ago (pop-tarts and salmon salad, a well-balanced meal, yes, I know).

Mom called Sissy, her cousin, to see if she'd like to walk with us. Sissy's a senior now, but she looks 35-ish to my eyes, very youthful and cheerful appearance, and she's taken a shine to our family when she visited with Mom a few years ago. Sissy was not available, but she will accompany us to the airport tomorrow afternoon and I think spend some time with Mom after I take wing.

So after chatting with Sissy, Mom and I went for a walk.

We walked around the part of Lake Charles near the boardwalk (which is made of brick, but, oh, well), and it was a rather sunny and warm 70° day, so we stayed mostly in the shade as we walked the streets (such as Pithon (pron: pee-toahn)) and byways.

Then back home, and lounging time. Received a nice call from Beki, and Mom's resting on the couch as I write this missive beside her.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Storm then Sunshiny Day

Mom took the chemo treatment really well. What helped, besides her, was the that staff was so friendly and funny, and her doctor really took a lot of time talking with her about her previous treatment and how she did in the weeks that followed.

I don't know if the doctor was younger than me, but he had a twinkle in his eye and he was kind and patient, a good listener.

I spent chemo with Mom, and she watched TV, the news. Not the best thing for her in my view, because the news was full of the death threats against law-makers in the House for passing health insurance reform, so she really cringed through those reports, but she wanted to watch that, so I didn't get all whatever ... but then she worked on her sudoku and she lent me a sudoku book, too, and we did that, which I think was very relaxing for her, as first one set and then another set went in.

After that, I took Mom home, and she cooked this turkey-leg spaghetti thing for supper and we had that (she had a little bit of that), and we sat and watched more news and did more sudoku.

Sigh! I messed up my puzzle but good: I needed a 4 in two places and that finally caused me to call it a night.

A thunderstorm swept through town, and it was thundering and raining so hard Mom worried that it would crash through the window, and the wind was so hard that the Cathedral bell went clank-clank all through the night. The only remnant of the storm this morning was a few puddles on the sidewalk to the trash bin, however.

Mom's not really up for talking with anybody today; she doesn't like talking about the treatment at all, so I'm trying to field phone calls. But there were some good news that brightened up her day. Malou just gave birth to Michael David Wuerthele at 9 lbs 13 oz, and Diane forwarded a very cute baby pic. AND my family forwarded a care package for Mom and me, including shortbread cookies (for Mom?) and nutty bars (definitely for me!) and letters and pictures from the girls.

Mom was just so happy to see those news(es?).

So she's nesting on the couch now, but I have word that we'll go for a walk today ... it's a bright, sunshiny day, so I hope it's a nice walk for us.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lunch at Chilis with Mom

Yesterday was a good day. Really. Mom and I went for a walk, we went to the thrift store to donate stuff, went to Chilis, where she's never been before ... she liked the grilled salmon lunch, but the virgin margarita that I ordered was just too sour to be drinkable ... she does like the Hazelnut coffees I make her when she (rarely) requests (I just had to add that).

After Chilis I was out. Fifteen hours straight, and got up this morning woozy. Ick.

Mom and I had a heart-to-heart talk this morning. She's more worried about me than she is for herself, and we talked about life. I told her how things were going with me and family and life and she listened. I also told her how proud I am of her, how she's facing these treatments and losing her hair and being just so brave, so cheerful and assured about it, even as she may be facing her mortality. After our talk she demanded one, no, two hugs from me.

I showed her the picture of our little Elena Marie in braces, smiling like all get-out, and Mom laughed and laughed and laughed, just so delighted for her granddaughter.

We're off to chemo in a bit. It takes two-plus hours, what with the set-up and breaks, and then home for her to recover, where I will wait on her hand and foot.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunshine-y Day

My last report was rather grim, with mom pulling out handfuls of hair and trying to be strong about that, emotionally. This one, thank goodness, is chipper-er.

Mom is still pulling out handfuls of hair, as she did not get her hair cut off yesterday as planned (it was very cold in LC (Lake Charles) yesterday and this morning), but her disposition is much sunnier. It was sunny yesterday but kind of forced sunny. Today, because the temp went up to 70 deg and the sun, itself, came out as well, well: that also seemed to lift her spirits, too.

Diane sent a private clip of Isabel practicing for a dance, and Mom complained fiercely about the back-only view (sorry, Sweetie), but nearly cried with joy when Isabel flashed a smile at the camera. Good thing Diane archived the girls' "Do the Hokey-Pokey" dance, because that really made her morning and she was laughing with joy through the whole dance (particularly with Diane's instructions to the girls 'Other left leg, Elena').

We usually go out for a walk, then an outing to see friends. We didn't go on a walk yesterday (too cold for Mom), but we did see Sissy.

Today we went out on an extended walk (for Mom), but no outing. She 'threw' me out of the house so I could get some more exercise, and I had a lovely walk to myself on the boardwalk.

I made her some Hazelnut coffee which she enjoyed and we'll be having some gumbo that I cooked for her yesterday.

A business-like report, but that's actually good, because she wasn't very stormy emotionally today, and when she was, it was cheerful stormy. Like her pleased-angry reaction to the news (and please don't get political, my lovelies, with me or Mom ... I'm just passing on Mom's moods, not judging them, okay?) of the passage of the Health Ins Bill in the House.

Mom, complaining: "And not one darn republican voted in favor of it!"
Me: "Aw, poor Momma! Do you want a hug from a Republican?"
Mom, angrily: "No! I don't want a hunk of a republican, thank you!"
I looked at her quizzically.
Mom, confused: "Wait, did you say 'hug from a republican'? Well, then, sure!"

We hugged and she was happy.

She mentioned she loved the upscale Pujo St Café that I passed on my walk, so I was planning on taking her to that tonight, but she deferred that outing for tomorrow. And she like Chilis, so maybe we'll go there? She has an appt near a Lebanese place (Zeus' (?)) before her chemo, so we're sure to go to that. Just trying to let her nest on her couch when she needs to and get her out when she is able.

Her next chemo is 24 March (this week). I'll be with her for that and am staying until 27 March. Beki and Sof are coming in for a wedding in Texas 8 April, then vising Mom for her next chemo. Lynda? Still a go?

So, that's the news for today. "No news is good news" I suppose. We'll see how tomorrow goes. I'm so glad I decided to stay with her. I don't bug her (really, honest) but I can see she likes me here, and I offer company, food, drink, hugs occasionally and spoil her by letting her nest on the couch. Maybe not the best plan or care, but I think she's happy with the arrangement, and that's what I want her to be.

Pulling Out Handfuls of Hair

Mom had a not-good morning. She was still asleep maybe? And she was moaning as she was breathing. I asked how she was doing as she 'nested' on her couch doing soduko watching the news, and she said she felt nauseous a little bit.

Just a few minutes ago, after she noticed that she had some hair in her bonnet, she pulled out a handful, and she's been finger combing her hair to get out the loose hairs. She's being strong about it, but I think she's a bit scared, so she's angry at other stuff ("I don't wanna read this book, why did I suggest it to the book club?").

She's trying to be chipper, and she gave me a hug and told me how glad I was here now, and I'm so glad I am here during these 'in-between' days, but we'll see how things go.

She seriously freaked out when another woman told her the extreme measures someone else went through for her breast cancer, so sometimes she doesn't want to talk about things, fyi.

... update: the hair just keeps coming out. Mom: "I'm not crying." She's planning to have Sissy cut her hair, perhaps this morning, perhaps later today. It isn't helping that we've had a cold-snap this morning, because otherwise Mom would've gone outside to brush out her hair. She's annoyed that she's getting her hair all over her stuff.

All for now. I'll update later when I have something good or bad to share. Chemo is March 24, and I'll be headed back to D.C. March 27th.

Mom Has Breast Cancer

So, my mom has breast cancer, and she had surgery, and she's going through Chemo now and Radiation down the road. So, I'll be writing about that.

Mom's next chemo is next Wednesday, 24 March, and no family will be with her at home before, during and after that time, so I offered to stay. So I'm staying in Lake Charles another 10 days. I'll be there until the 28th of March at which time I'll be back in Washington D.C.

Mom is looking wonderful ('cause she's a fighter, you know) but she's not up for much, and is grateful for the day-to-day help. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

I am adjusting appointments/schedules as best I can, if there is something you need from me or something you wish for me to pass to Mom, please contact me: email here or my cell, which you all have.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Can't you simply be an X and ..."

My answer: no.

Or yes. Yes, I can simply be an X. It is possible in some PU ("parallel universe" ... boy is that term going to get a scathing blog entry!) and it may be possible here. Here's the recipe:

1. Remove frontal lobe.
2. Simply be an X.

I am an Auclair. We Auclairs are simply NOT simply anything. Everything we undertake is hard, in all its aspects, or we do not undertake it. When we stop to smell the Roses it's to pull off the interstate and to stop traffic in both directions and demand everyone pay the toll of smelling the roses.

Don't believe me? Ride in the car with me, or my father, or my father's father. We pull over to stop at cemeteries, and read every single gravestone.

"Can't you simply be an X and ..."


And here's the other problem with 'being a moderate.'

If the other side is wrong, then compromising one's position means compromising one's position. I'd prefer not to have other people see my compromising positions.

Case in point.

Ayn Rand: people are material. You are either a producer or moocher. Bullets or dollars, those are the only true motivators. How many children to existentialists/objectivists/materialists have?

Buber: I and Thou.

Where is the compromise there? "I'll treat you like shite, but lovingly?"

That is the compromise today, isn't it? The consumeristic philosophy has reduced people to numbers, but we sure love our customers, don't we.

To be holy is to be separate. I am not holy, but I am wholly separate.

How many philosophers are moderates?


Socrates? He'd rather die for his views then be made to alter them one iota. And he was condemned not for what he said, but because what somebody thought he said could possibly offend a rich citizen.

How would your "Can't you simply be a moderate and ..." work on Socrates?

It didn't.

I am an unreasonable man. Reasonable men see how the world works, and work within that world.

It is the unreasonable man that changes the world, and for that, we have light bulbs and penicillin. Because I am an unreasonable man, three children have found their way back home to their families.

And other things have, and have not, happened.

Also, the moderate, reasonable man does not write this messed up tale of angst and what the hell is this anyway piece of fiction called MSR, because the reasonable, moderate man does not write nor does he create.

And create what? Moderate, reasonable shite that more than 90% of the stories are on ffn?

Or beauty. Or truth. Or faith, hope, and love.

Benjamin Franklin chose the speckled ax, but he didn't. He was irascible, uncompromising in his principles and politics. Thomas Jefferson was a ... and John Adams ...?

I may or may not respect their causes or principles, but I do respect that they stood for something, against everyone, against the whole world.

I find when I don't stand for something, ... well, I'll fall for anything.

And that's the sad statement that reflects the much more than 50% of the "citizens" of the U.S.A. who do not vote nor write nor march nor anything.

"The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" happened not because of lead pipes, it happened when their "citizenry" stopped participating as a warriors, senators, and started becoming entitlement-centric slobs attending the daily circus and letting the barbarians at the gate to crash the orgies.

Hm. Decline and Fall of which Empire?

No. I can be simply an X and ... but I choose not to be simply an X.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twelfth Night

Christmas is still going strong in our home, as we happily enjoy Frank Sinatra's Jingle Bells and Bing Crosby's White Christmas over the internet through Pandora, and open a present each day from dear friends. No, there's no wanton ripping of gifts on Christmas Day here. Yes, we make the girls write their thank-you notes each day after opening each present. (We keep sane the best way we can.)

Tonight, we'll finally get to roast the chicken-in-brine-that-got-frozen-out-on-the-deck to celebrate Twelfth Night. The girls have started on the annual gingerbread house. As we wait for it to be ready for decorating, they do other decorating: Baby Jesus' crib is done up like a royal throne. With little pompoms, of course.

The roast chicken is almost done. The girls have laid the gold-colored table cloth on the table and brought out the Royal Albert china. Baby Jesus has his scepter and crown. It is time for some merry-making!

Father, you revealed your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Merry Christmas to all of you!